The Minister in Panama (Price) to the Secretary of State

No. 2198

Sir: Continuing my reports upon the matter of Fiscal Reform for Panama and the Bill pending in the National Assembly to provide for an American Fiscal Agent, I have the honor to enclose … a printed copy of the Bill as introduced in the National Assembly, …

. . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price
[Page 686]

Fiscal Reform Bill Pending in the National Assembly of Panama13

The National Assembly of Panama


  • Article 1. The Executive Power is hereby authorized to appoint a Fiscal Agent in the Republic, or to engage his services; the appointee may be either a national or a foreigner, who must be skilled in financial matters and in public bookkeeping. The Executive Power shall ask the good offices of the Government of the United States in securing a candidate for the post.
  • The Fiscal Agent will be under the direct orders of the President of the Republic.
  • Article 2. The Fiscal Agent will have an assistant who may not be a Panamanian and who will also be appointed by the President of the Republic. The assistant will take the place of the Fiscal Agent in cases of absence or temporary incapacity, and will have other functions and duties which the Fiscal Agent may delegate to him not contradictory to the provisions of this law.
  • Article 3. The Executive Power is hereby authorized to appoint the auxiliary personnel which he may deem necessary to help the Fiscal Agent in the discharge of his duties.
  • Article 4. The Fiscal Agent within the least possible time, will present to the Executive Power a detailed report on the financial conditions of the Republic, in which will be stated the internal and external debt and the actual revenues and their source. The Fiscal Agent will also help the Secretary of the Treasury in drafting the Budget and the fiscal laws that are to be submitted to the National Assembly.
  • Article 5. It shall be the duty of the Fiscal Agent to give to the Executive Power, when deemed necessary, information on the measures which should be adopted to increase the revenues and diminish the expenditures of the Treasury; on the manner in which the public funds should be kept and managed in order that the state of the Treasury may be known at any moment and to prevent the expenses from exceeding the income.
  • Article 6. The Fiscal Agent has the high inspection of the accounting system in the Republic and will see that the laws and the regulations that the Executive may give on the subject are complied with. It will be his duty also to examine all the accounts and claims of any nature from the different Departments and lower offices, taking into consideration the necessary data for the verification and adjustment of same, and to certify the balances for their remittances to the Department of the Treasury. Furthermore the Fiscal Agent will keep the records of all the bills and their vouchers, legalize according to the law the orders of payment issued by the Secretary of the Treasury, and discharge all the other duties that the laws and regulations may disclose to him.
  • Article 7. The Fiscal Agent is hereby authorized to reject any bill or claim against the Treasury, whenever the disbursement has not been duly authorized by law or because the prices of the articles to which the bill refers, or the claim, may not be the same as those on the market, or for any other reason that finds force in the law or regulations.
  • Article 8. The appeals against the decisions of the Fiscal Agent relative to the application or interpretation of the laws and fiscal regulations shall be taken to the Supreme Court of Justice within the period of ninety days, counting from the date when the interested party is notified of the decision. The appeal in these cases will be in conformity with the procedure which the Executive Power may establish. If the interested party does not make his appeal within the designated period, the decision of the Fiscal Agent will be definitive and obligatory for the interested parties and the authorities. And in case of appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice will be definitive and obligatory.
  • Article 9. Once the Fiscal Agent considers that the system of accounts which this law provides are sufficiently efficient to no longer necessitate the services of the Auditor General, the Fiscal Inspector, the Judge of Accounts, and the Court of Appeals, the Executive Power will abolish these employments, and the business that may remain pending in all or any of the offices mentioned will continue under the jurisdiction of the Fiscal Agent in order that he may dispose of them in accordance with the provisions of this law and the expediting decrees and regulations.
  • Article 10. The Fiscal Agent, his assistant, and the other inferior employees to whom this law refers, will have the salaries that the Executive Power will assign to them.
  • Article 11. The provisions of this law are extended, in so far as they may be applicable, to the revenues and expenses of the municipalities.
  • Article 12. All laws and regulations contrary to the present law are hereby repealed.
  • Article 13. This law will be in force thirty days after its promulgation.
  1. Supplied by the editor.
  2. Approved Dec. 30, 1918, as Law 30 of 1918, with art. 8 amended to read as follows: “Article 8. The decisions of the Fiscal Agent with reference to the interpretation of the laws and fiscal regulations, will be with the advice of the Executive Power, who may revoke them or not; but the definitive decisions of the latter are appealable before the Supreme Court of Justice within the period of ninety days counting from the date when the interested party is notified. The appeal will be heard like the pleadings and proceedings of a law suit; but the final decision will be pronounced by the Court in full. The decisions of the Court will be definitive and will be exactly executed.” (File No. 819.51/249.)